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By DYLAN MALONE
What a week. I mean aside from the holiday festivus, anyway.
In part one of the annual county wrestling rivalry, AC ended a 22-year drought against the perennially outstanding Bellmont Braves. Tonight we see the Stars take their shot at dethroning coach Faurote’s youthful grapplers.
In a few days the Jets and Stars will take part in the first ever “coaches’ choice” tournament. The Jets are ranked first in 1A so they drew South Putnam, while South Adams (#3) drew Cass. It is an honor for both schools to be in the tournament as both have deserved a place simply for their body of work in the last several years thanks to some great coaching.
It’s no mystery anymore that Bellmont’s invitation got lost in the mail. That seems to be the only explanation as to why this weekend there will not be three Adams County teams battling for the new state championship title.
Ok, so the Braves are inexperienced and have lost a few NHC matches, but looking at the entire list of teams invited in class 2A, I’m not impressed. There are a few no-brainers on the list such as Yorktown, Jimtown, and Evansville Memorial, but from there you get into teams that the Braves could easily match up with.
Muncie South, Southmont, and Heritage Hills are three teams that could have easily had their tickets punched by the Braves and the rich history between Bellmont and the Yorkies should be reason enough to include coach Faurote’s squad into the fray. I’m not knowledgeable enough to know the ins and outs of the coaching association and who makes what decisions based on what votes but there has to be more going on here than meets the eye. Despite the smaller size of Bellmont, the Braves have historically taken down the big dogs when it came time for the state tournament.
There have always been bumps in the road for Bellmont. It would be easy to say there is something in the water that breeds great wrestlers for the Braves and even for the whole county but the truth of the matter is that wrestling is one of those sports that takes an intricate understanding to master and that’s what the coaches in this great county bring to all three schools.
Bellmont may be having what would be known as a down year by our standards here but there are schools in the ACAC and NHC who would be thrilled to have just five losses on the season at this point. By the end of the campaign, Bellmont, Adams Central, and South Adams will once again be atop the sectionals with targets on their back because there is a tradition to be had and pride to be kept on the line in this county.
I wish the Jets and Stars the best of luck this weekend and agree with coach Faurote’s sentiments from Tuesday’s match when he said that he hopes to make the list for next year’s tournament.
Continuing with the inner-county theme, Bellmont boys basketball will take a trip to South Adams tomorrow. Both squads are in desperate need of a win with the Braves (1-5) getting blasted by Garrett and New Haven in their last two games, while the Starfires (2-5) will look to end a five-game losing streak of their own.
Coach John Baker’s Braves have been getting some help from their reserves who have begun to get a bit more comfortable in the system. Against New Haven, Bellmont held their own even holding a lead late in the third quarter showing signs they can play with the big boys.
On the other side of the ball, Coach Andy Brown’s Stars have been leaning on Chase Mosser’s solid play offensively all season long. A few role players have begun to emerge as viable scorers for SA as well which could be timely with Bellmont coming to town tomorrow.
Bellmont, good or bad, has a tendency to come out ready for county games year in and year out. I look for the Braves to play their best basketball tomorrow. The formula for SA this season has been keeping Mosser on the floor without foul trouble. Their offense has no flow without him and it will be their only shot of staying with the Braves at this point in the season.
All in all, it should be a great next few days. Even if your team loses in any of these upcoming events take solace in knowing that Santa is on his way bringing you Christmas joy. If that doesn’t help, try and remember the real reason for the season; family, friends, and the birth of our Savior. Merry Christmas.